9/21 Issue: Fiddlers on the Roof

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9/21 Issue: Fiddlers on the Roof

Post by Esynthia » Wed Sep 22, 2021 3:56 am

Timeline: Roughly a week after Issue: There Once Was a Stark in Nantucket

Rogue: Rogue set her suitcases down next to her car and popped the trunk. She put her hands on her hips while she judged the size of the trunk versus how many boxes she knew she had back in her room still. Not many, but maybe too much for just the trunk. She bit her lip and looked back at the building. Better get them all down here before she tried to play Tetris with the space available.

Rogue: She flew back towards the building, glancing over her shoulder once to make sure no one was around to come snatch her luggage, then went inside and up to her room. Her bedding and towels boxes could probably ride in the floorboard, leaving more space for her fragile boxes in the trunk. She picked those two up first and flew back down.

Bobby: Bobby hadn't been up to Danvers in days. He didn't know what to say to Anna, and it seemed there wasn't much left to say since Tony Fucking Stark had bought her a- He blew out a long breath and pulled into the lot, just in time to see her flying inside.

Rogue: Rogue set the boxes down by the door and flew back up for her television and pillow. Those needed to ride in the backseat, probably. She jostled them to be under one arm and took a look around her room, making sure she hadn't forgotten to pack anything. With a heavy sigh, she scooped up the last box under her other arm and walked out of the room.

Rogue: She loved the house, she really did, but she wasn't sure Tony would love living there with her after he knew everything. Even something as small as the fact that she would always mourn Sam might give him second thoughts. They'd never talked about anything too emotional... He didn't know much below the surface yet.

Bobby: His eyes were drawn to her car, with the trunk up and back door ajar. Bobby parked nearby, drumming his fingers on the steering wheel and looking back up at her bedroom window. His talk with Jamie had done absolutely no good, but it'd felt good to blow off some steam, and confess, although he was sure it'd be a terrible idea in the long run when Jamie's redhead found out.

Rogue: Once she made it to the front door, she set everything down and situated everything so she could make as few trips as possible. Nothing was heavy, but it was definitely precarious to balance them all. Rogue bit her lip and stared at it all. He bought her a house. A house. He couldn't say how he felt, but he could buy a huge mansion that was as close as he could find to the only place she'd ever called home.

Rogue: If that didn't say how he felt without words, she wasn't sure what would.

Rogue: Rogue shook her head and scooped up the first load, flying out to her car. She paused halfway there when she saw Bobby's truck and her heart twisted. He'd not said anything to her in days.

Bobby: And there she was. "Fuck me," he muttered. After a long, tense moment, he turned off the truck and pulled the key from the ignition to get out. She was moving. Moving into a house bought for her by the fucking president of the fucking united states. Who was also rich as fuck.

Bobby: Bobby was numb as he got out of the truck and started the slow, stiff walk toward her car. "Hey, Roguey."

Rogue: "Hey..." She licked her lips and took a slow breath. At least he was talking to her instead of moving right past her. She flew the last few feet to her car and set the things next to it. "How y' been?"

Bobby: "Oh, you know," he said, giving her a crooked smile when she glanced up. "I'm always alright."

Rogue: Rogue gave him a look, knowing what that meant. "Uh huh." She shoved the suitcases in the trunk and shut it before setting the rest in the floorboards and locking the car. She could play Tetris and pack the rest later. "Are y' mad at me, Bobby?"

Bobby: "I..." Bobby started to pick up a box for her and stopped himself. "I have no right to be mad. So long as you're happy, then I should be happy for you." He crossed his arms and leaned against the side of her car.

Rogue: "That ain't a 'no'..." She closed her eyes and looked down for a moment. "C'mon, let's go inside? Get a drink'r somethin'?" Rogue didn't want to have this conversation where there could be prying eyes or ears. Not only for their sakes, but because she was the 'first girlfriend' paparazzi had started to follow her, too.

Bobby: "But it's not a yes, either, babe." Bobby nodded once and pushed himself off from the fender to go inside. "Sounds... necessary."

Rogue: "It ain't a yes 'cause y' don't wanna be mad at me. Don't mean y're not." She led the way to the door and opened it to more boxes. Rogue winced and moved them as far out of the way as she could then started to head up to her room. Until she remembered it was empty. "Um. Ah could snag some o' Carol's stuff'r dig f'r mine in mah boxes?"

Bobby: "I'm not exactly mad and you have to understand why, right?" He stopped short when she did, and he had absolutely not been watching her ass on the steps. "Let's go for Carol's. It's community property, right?"

Rogue: "She won't buy that, but Ah'll pay'er back later. Ah'll buy a whole case t' make up f'r one bottle if Ah hafta." Rogue gave him a wry smirk. "Lemme grab some an' Ah'll meet y' up there?" She started back down the stairs towards Carol's office. "An' just so y' know, Ah don't hafta understand why y' ain't mad. Ah'd understand better if y' were."

Bobby: Bobby pointed up. "Roof? For old time's sake?"

Rogue: That changed her smile to a more genuine one. "Roof," she agreed. It had been a while since she'd had any chats with anyone on the roof and she didn't see Tony climbing up on one anytime soon. "Be right up. Or... D' y' wanna wait an' Ah'll give y' a lift?"

Bobby: Recalling his conversation with Xerox, Bobby swallowed and shook his head. "I'll manage." He stopped himself from saying the half dozen jokes about getting it up by himself and appearing naked that popped into his head.

Rogue: "Oh," she didn't bother to hide her surprise, but shrugged. "Alright. See y' in a minute, then." Rogue headed to Carol's office to grab the booze, wondering why he hadn't wanted to fly. He loved doing that. Unless, this was part of him distancing himself from her...

Bobby: Madrox's little smirk and crack about holding on tight was replaying in Bobby's head as he went back outside and formed an ice slide to the roof. He picked a spot away from the prying eyes of the media, on the back of the building and shielded by the structure itself and trees. Dissolving his slide, he stood for a moment and just looked at the countryside.

Rogue: Booze in hand, with a note written to Carol about buying her five bottles to replace the one, she left the office. Rogue chewed her lip as she stepped onto the back porch. Too late to turn back now, so she lifted into the air and looked around for her best friend. When she spotted him, she just hovered for a moment, smiling as she watched him stare out over the landscape. He was right here, not twenty feet from her, and she missed him so much it hurt.

Bobby: He sensed eyes on him and shaded his own with his hand to look up and search for her. When he found her, he smiled despite himself. Why was life so fucking complicated...

Rogue: Rogue saw him notice her and a smile lit her face. He would always be her Bugsy. No amount of life obstacles would be able to change that. She shook the booze in demonstration and flew over. "Roof, booze, best friend. What more could a gal want fr'm life?"

Bobby: "Oh, I dunno, a house?" Fuck. He winced and immediately looked away. "I didn't mean it like that." Bobby did mean it like that, but he had no right to be jealous. No right to stand in the way of her happiness. None. "Sorry." He dropped to the roof and gestured to a spot beside him, their backs to a massive chimney.

Rogue: That stopped her mid-flight and she just stared at him. "Ah didn't ask him t' do that. Ah didn't know that was his plan. We were lookin' f'r a house for him." She slowly moved to sit beside him, but couldn't look at him yet, eyes on the treeline instead. "How did y' mean it, then? 'Cause Ah cain't see any other way y' could mean that."

Bobby: "Anna, I just..." Bobby swallowed and looked away from her since she wasn't looking at him. "Sorry." He was listening, however. She hadn't known. "If it was for him, when did he spring it on you that he'd lied?"

Rogue: "He didn't lie, Bobby. He never said one way'r another... Ah was th' one who said we should find him a house an' he just never corrected me." But now her brain was turning over itself trying to figure out if he really had lied to her. "It looks like home, Bobby," she said quietly. "He found it an' bought it b'fore we went huntin'... He wanted t' give me 'home'."

Bobby: "Home..." He mulled that over for a second. "Westchester?" Bobby had to look up at her to gauge her reaction.

Rogue: "It's like Xavier's mansion but made f'r a family instead o' students," she confirmed with a small smile. "It's perfect."

Bobby: And she loved it, like she loved Stark. His smile in return was crooked. "Perfect, huh? Then I'm happy for ya, Anna." It hurt, but he had years of practice ignoring pain.

Rogue: "Ah want y' t' be th' first t' see it." Rogue stared at the bottle in her hands but not really focusing on it. "But, Ah understand if y' never wanna set foot in it."

Bobby: He swallowed, started to reply, but his voice came out hoarse. "I'd love to, babe..." It'd be another timely reminder that she was out of his league.

Rogue: "Bobby..." What could she say to him about this? It's not like she could force him to talk to her about his feelings. Not anymore than she could make Tony. And to make it harder, Bobby was married, so she shouldn't want him to. Rogue opened the bottle and took a long pull from it, then passed it over.

Bobby: He watched her from the side of his eye, then just took the bottle and chugged. After a moment, he held the bottle in both hands, bracing his forearms on his raised knees. The booze needed to work faster. "Xero-" Bobby stopped, making a face at himself. "Madro-" No, still not right. "Jamie is having a hard time dealing with killing Arcade. That's why he asked me abut X-Force."

Rogue: "Killin' somebody ain't somethin' anybody should take lightly, so even though he did it t' save 'em, Ah'm glad it bothers him. He's a good kid." Rogue licked her lips and leaned her head back against the chimney. "What'd y' tell him?"

Bobby: "He is," he agreed, taking another short drink and passing the bottle back to her. "Basically that. That it changes you. He said it was an accident... but how it happened... he's never gonna get over it."

Rogue: Rogue took the bottle and froze for a second when her gloved fingers touched his. Then what he said registered and she looked up at him. "How? What'd he do that made it that bad? Ah cain't imagine any scenario that wouldn't be like a normal man killin' somebody 'cause it ain't like Jamie's real strong'r nothin'."

Bobby: "He's strong enough to beat a little guy like Arcade to death, and I'm thinking it was headed that way, but something happened and he duped." Bobby's nose wrinkled. "Inside the guy. Fucking bloodbath, from the inside and out."

Rogue: "Holy hell." Rogue took a swig from the bottle, then decided that mental image needed another one. She passed it back to him and shook her head. "Remind me never t' touch him. Ah don't want that memory floatin' 'round in mah head. Poor guy."

Bobby: "Oh," he snorted, but the sound was without humor. "He's fucking terrified of you, so no worries." Bobby shot her a grin and took the bottle and another drink before he spoke again. "He had to reabsorb the poor dupe who did the deed... said he almost killed the dupe himself so he wouldn't have to experience it."

Rogue: "He's scared o' me?" Rogue pouted at him, "Ah ain't that bad... Am Ah?" That deserved a whole bottle to herself, but she would settle for a few swallows, so she reached for the bottle. "Dang. Ah prob'ly woulda felt th' same... That's horrifyin'."

Bobby: "The fear of being broken in half came up more than once," he snorted, passing it back. "Same, babe, but... it gets worse. By this point of the conversation some of Jean's inventory and several beers were involved."

Rogue: "How c'n it get worse?" She didn't want to drink yet, afraid that she might choke if she was trying to swallow. Rogue could imagine several scenarios, having lived as an evil scientist for a good portion of time, but she didn't want to involve innocent little Jamie in any of them.

Bobby: "I think he meant to kill the guy, because Arcade was trying to kill Jean. She wasn't breathing, he said. And because Arcade had already killed their baby..." Bobby sighed and waved a hand. "He's got the whole package.... nightmares, guilt and all... even though he was totally justified."

Rogue: "They were pregnant?!" Rogue's head fell forward and she closed her eyes. "What an absolute monster... Poor Jean." She sighed and pulled her head up so she could take a drink. And then a few more. "Things like that make me glad Ah cain't have kids..."

Bobby: "Yeah, that fucker deserved to die." He said, leaning his head back against the brick and lolling it sideways to see her. "He said she didn't know she was pregnant. So... neither of them are doing great right now, but at least they have each other." Bobby chuckled a little. "Dude is stupid in love with her."

Rogue: After another long swig, she passed the bottle back to him. "Ah'm glad they have each other. It's important t' feel like y' c'n depend on somebody after somethin' like that..." Rogue looked over at him and really looked at him, finally. "Ah'm sorry Tony bought me a house..."

Bobby: "Yeah," he snorted, mind wandering from Jamie and Jean to he and Paige. So much for depending on somebody... Bobby looked away, jaw clenched. "'s'okay, Anna. Really. We're moving forward with our lives."

Rogue: "Stop it." She turned her body to face him, tucking one leg under her and leaning against the chimney with her side. "Ah know Ah shouldn't, but Ah need at least one man in mah life t' be honest 'bout his feelin's."

Bobby: Bobby's brows shot up. "It's Stark's turn."

Rogue: "An' instead o' sayin' a simple word, he bought me a fuckin' mansion..." She peeled off her gloves and threw them on the roof, then brought her hands up to bury her fingers in the hair on the top of her scalp.

Bobby: "I don't know what to tell ya, Anna. Not about this. I'm in the same boat. Paige decided to blame me for getting toddlerized for a week." He reached over and snatched the bottle.

Rogue: Rogue lifted her head sharply and gave him an incredulous look. "How in th' hell is that your fault?! She's really not rackin' up any brownie points with me."

Bobby: "I know, I know..." He sighed. "After a while, she said she was just scared of losing me, but I ain't gonna lie... for the first few minutes she would hardly look at me."

Rogue: "Scared o' losin' you? How does that make sense?" She shook her head and buried her fists in her lap so she wouldn't break anything by holding on too hard. "Paige needs t' be glad y' love her. Otherwise, she an' Ah woulda gone rounds already."

Bobby: "I don't know... you know, it's Paige. She's been stressed because of her residency program, so then I'm on the news as a casualty in some sort of attack and she's getting a call from Fury..."

Rogue: "Yeah, Ah know. But if she'd thought t' watch th' damned news, she woulda watched it unfold and known y' weren't dead'r injured. Hell, Tony prob'ly woulda welcomed the help, not t' mention how much fun Zachary woulda had with ya."

Bobby: "Yeah, well, it's Paige. She didn't know what to tell Rip, since she's old enough now to get it a little. She just kept her away from the news." He went for the bottle again. "Was upset she missed work..."

Rogue: "What th' fuck." Rogue shook her head again and locked her fingers together between her legs. "So... Was she scared o' losin' you 'cause that means she has t' find someone else t' help with y'all's kids? Bobby, that's... It ain't right."

Bobby: He sighed. "I don't know, Anna." He set the bottle down and leaned his head back against the wall. "Once she snapped out of it, she was normal again, but of course then it was time to go back to work."

Rogue: "Bugs," she said softly and untangled her hands to reach out and put one on his arm. "Have y' talked t' her 'bout it? Try t' find out why she acted that way?"

Bobby: "She's... delicate. Always has been, but everything with Eve and Rachel made her really weird with relationships." He looked down at her hand and gave her a faint smile. "I'm probably the most normal partner she's had. Poor Paigey."

Rogue: Rogue scoffed. Poor Paigey. She took her hand back and turned to put her back against the chimney again, looking out at the trees, but seeing nothing. "Maybe she shoulda thought about that 'fore jumpin' int' bed with a-" Rogue cut herself off and shook her head. "Sorry..."

Bobby: "With a what?" He jerked his head to look at her, frowning in confusion.

Rogue: "Widower was mah first thought..." She pulled her knees up to her chest and leaned against them, wrapping her arms to clutch at her wrists. "Didn't mean it. Just angry."

Bobby: Bobby just grunted, not sure he believed that explanation. He took another pull from the bottle instead of saying anything stupid.

Rogue: Rogue turned her head to look at him, resting her temple on her drawn up knees. "Mah second thought doesn't have a word f'r it. Or if it does, Ah don't know it... Somebody with a darkness in 'em that can only be eased by th' same darkness in somebody else." She held her hand out for the bottle, but didn't lift her head. "Like me," she finished quietly.

Bobby: He handed her the bottle without a word. Darkness. Because they were killers. Hence Jamie asking him about it. "Yeah..."

Rogue: Rogue decided she didn't want the bottle anymore and set it between them, putting her forehead on her knees this time. If she hadn't had that dumb idea when she and Carol were drinking, none of this would be an issue. Everybody would have been happier if she hadn't opened her mouth.

Bobby: She may not want it, but he did, taking it back with a slight huff and taking a swallow so large it hurt going down. "So... where is this house?"

Rogue: "Belmont. 'Bout twenty minute drive from here." She didn't bother to lift her head. "But it might not work out anyway, so don't worry 'bout comin' t' see it if y' don't wanna."

Bobby: "Why would it not work out? You're moving there, right?" He watched her, but tried not to let his eyes linger.

Rogue: "All he knows 'bout mah past is from a file." Rogue finally lifted her head, setting her chin on her knees and looking straight ahead again. "He doesn't know 'bout mah darkness, Bobby."

Bobby: "Well," he said, not hiding the dripping sarcasm. "He might have a clue from the files, babe."

Rogue: "Yeah? Y' think he knows how of'en Ah run an' why? Y' think he knows what it's like f' me t' fight every inch o' mah bein' when mah head an' body're occupied by an evil monster? Or how 'bout what happens t' me when someone Ah love is put in danger? It's completely diff'rent when y' read it an' when y' live it an' you damn well know that." She snatched the bottle and took a long pull, then passed it back roughly and stood.

Bobby: He made a face at her reaction and watched her stand. "Yeah," he sighed, taking the bottle and setting it between his legs. "I know, Anna."

Rogue: Rogue crossed her arms over her chest, gripping the sleeves covering her triceps. "Ah don't know what t' do, Bobby. Part o' me wants him t' leave me 'cause of it an' th' other part o' me wants him t' stay despite it. Ah mean, let's face it, it ain't like Ah got any chance with anybody else."

Bobby: Except for him, but he was married. Married to a woman who may not have real feelings for him anymore. The woman Anna had told him not to marry in the first place. "I'm sorry, babe."

Rogue: After a long moment of just standing in silence, she finally sat back down. "What would Lorna want y' t' do? Ah've been tryin' t' figure out what Sam would want an' all Ah come up with is 'Marie, Bobby's married, you know that's wrong.' An' then there's 'Darlin', Ah want you to do whatever brings you joy' which ain't helpful at all."

Bobby: "Fuck if I know," he groaned. "Dee had her own quirks, but she probably would have laughed at me for marrying Paige in the first place." He watched her sit beside him again. Oh. Right. "Madrox knows. He was no help."

Rogue: "....Y' told th' man who can't control his own clones that Ah love you?" She hadn't meant to be that loud. Or say that last bit at all. Rogue's face felt hot and she looked away from him quickly.

Bobby: "I told him that I love you," he said quietly. Parts of their conversation were kind of a blank, however.

Rogue: "Bobby," she said, more quietly than before, "why would y' do that? What if he tells somebody who tells Paige?"

Bobby: "...I may have threatened to kill him if he did," he said, clearing his throat and squirming under her eyes.

Rogue: "Bobby!" Rogue was shocked, but if she were honest with herself, it felt kind of good to know that he still had a bit of the darkness left. That she wasn't alone. "Jean'd kill you. Ah'm pretty sure she'd figure out a way t' make it stick, too."

Bobby: "I didn't exactly mean to," he said with a wince. "May have, uh, overdone it." He picked up the bottle again and took a drink, rolling it between his hands to chill the scotch. "Definitely scared the shit out of him."

Rogue: "Ah bet. Poor kid's died enough, don'tcha think?" She sighed and let her head fall back to the wall behind them, looking up towards the sky. "He was really no help, though? Don't know if Ah'm shocked'r not even surprised a li'l bit. He's got more facets t' his personality than Ah do with all th' psyches Ah've had bouncin' 'round mah skull."

Bobby: "He said he wouldn't be in this situation in the first place." Bobby snorted and shook his head, looking up at Anna again. "Which, fair enough." He smirked. "Maybe if I'd walloped him a few times I'd have gotten a more helpful dupe."

Rogue: That made Rogue snort and she took a slow breath. "Ah miss wallopin' with you." Her head lolled to the side to look at him and she just watched him for a moment. "Honestly, Bobby, what would y' have done diff'rent if y'd known? Ah ain't sure anythin' 'cause Ah wasn't what y' needed. Never have been, really."

Bobby: He gave her a grin, watching her watch him. The expression slowly slid. "Wouldda made a difference, because I would have had the choice, babe." Bobby looked back at the bottle in his hands and backed off the ice before he cracked it. "You know what I needed? I needed my best friend." He cleared his throat.

Rogue: "Yeah," she said softly, "yeah... Y' woulda had th' choice, but would y' have made a diff'rent choice?" Rogue slowly reached for his hand closest to her. "Ah'm sorry. Ah'll say that as many times as y'll hear it."

Bobby: Bobby swallowed, started to speak, then paused to clear the gravel from his voice. "I guess we'll never know now." He gave her a sad smile.

Rogue: Rogue really wasn't sure what she wanted to hear, but she knew that definitely wasn't it. Though, she wasn't sure why she would have expected anything else. She mirrored his smile back to him and let her hand slide from on top of his. "Guess not."

Bobby: Making a frustrated sound, he caught her hand before she could pull away, interlacing their fingers. "I mean... you're moving into a house that Tony Fucking Stark bought for you, and I'm married with two kids."

Rogue: "A house," she murmured. "Cain't even say a tiny, stupid word, but'll buy me somethin' Ah never thought Ah'd have..." Rogue stared at their hands for a long moment, then scooted closer so she could lay her head on his shoulder. "Guess th' kids make runnin' away with me a li'l difficult."

Bobby: His chuckle was low. "Little bit, babe. Rip would consider it an adventure." Bobby leaned his head against hers and squeezed her hand.

Rogue: "Don't tempt me. Ah tried t' run 'way with th' two of you years ago... What's one more mouth t' feed?" She closed her eyes and focused on the feel of his hand on hers. Skin on skin. His psyche wrapping and mixing with hers in a slow, twisting dance. And he was still here. Alive. Awake. And she didn't have to give up anything to have it. Power-wise, at least.

Bobby: "Part of me really wants to say that I shouldda done it... but I do love Paige, and Zachary..." He licked his lips, staring at nothing. "I just don't know that she loves me anymore... if she regrets it all now."

Rogue: "If you still love her then y' gotta fight f'r it..." They were hard words to say, but because she was his best friend, she knew she needed to say them. "If y' don't, y'll wonder 'what if' f'r th' rest o' y'r life." What if... What if Sam hadn't been killed? What if Lorna hadn't been murdered? What if she'd been there for him when she should have been after everything?

Bobby: "Feels like..." He swallowed and closed his eyes. "Feels like I'm in the fight alone. "What if..." He was quiet for a few moments. There were so many turning points in his life where everything went wrong. "Maybe we are cursed."

Rogue: "Y' ain't alone." Rogue gave his hand a squeeze and lifted her head to look at him. "Ah know it ain't th' same, but Ah'm always in y'r corner, Bugs. Always." She smirked, "If we're cursed, Ah'm glad Ah got stuck bein' cursed with you, self-friend Bobby."

Bobby: It made him laugh, if only a little. Hive buddies to the end indeed. Sucking at his teeth, he frowned. "Xerox did this stupid weed-induced thought exercise with Doritos..." He turned his head to give her a small smile. "I said you were the Dorito always by my side."

Rogue: That was weird, but also really sweet, so Rogue smiled. "Ah'm y' favorite snack an' y' partner in crime? Ah'm honored." She squeezed his hand again. "Ain't sure how y' got there with that exercise, but Ah'm alright with th' outcome."

Rogue: Rogue licked her lower lip and caught it between her teeth while she looked at him. "What would y' have done if Tony hadn't bought a house f'r me?"

Bobby: "I ain't sure either," he laughed. "We were really fuckin' high." Bobby's gaze dropped to her mouth and he took a shaky breath. "Anna..." He tore his attention back to her eyes, but they were beautiful, too. Always had been. "The things... I want to do..." Bobby shook his head, once, and cleared his throat again to hide the growl. "Don't ask me that."

Rogue: "Y're right. Ah'm sorry." She made a face. "Ah shouldn'ta brought it up... Ah just... Tony won't say a damned word 'bout how he feels so Ah guess when y' told me how y' felt, now Ah'm just cravin' more." Rogue shrugged one shoulder and gnawed at her lip. "Ain't heard it since Sam an' that's been...a while."

Rogue: Rogue cleared her throat and forced a smile. "At least y' found a new buddy t' do that stuff with? Guess that's a good thing?"

Bobby: "Tony needs to fuckin' shit or get off the pot," he griped, tearing his eyes from her face before he did something he'd regret. Again.

Bobby: "Jamie?" He snorted and kept his eyes on the treetops. "In some ways, he seems like he's got his shit more figured out than I ever will, but in others... still Xerox." Bobby smiled a little. "We bonded over dying lots?"

Rogue: "He won't do either. Not yet, any road." She laid her head back on his shoulder and closed her eyes again. Being here like this was when she felt the most like herself. Like nothing she could do would make him judge her. And then she felt some doubt trickling in and her eyes opened. He had judged her once. Having it brought up in her mind fresh, from his perspective made her squeeze his hand, then let go and sit up.

Rogue: "Y' ain't ever died, Bobby Drake," she laughed. "Least, not in a way that's ever stuck. An' it better not ever stick."

Bobby: "Yeah, I told him it's not quite the same, but it scared the shit outta me the first few times for sure." His nose wrinkled, remembering seeing his own intestines when Vic got grabby with his stabby hands. "And it hurts like I motherfucker sometimes. So we can relate to each other."

Rogue: Rogue took the bottle and drank down a good bit of it, trying to drown the memories of Sam's death along with the time she thought she'd killed Bobby. "Ah'm glad y've got someone y' c'n talk to, sugah. That's important. Somebody who gets it."

Bobby: He gave her a skeptical look. "I'm not replacing you with Xerox, babe, for one thing he's not nearly as easy on the eyes." Bobby winced at himself the second he's said it. Well, fuck.

Rogue: "Ain't what Ah meant." She felt her cheeks flush a little at the compliment, but that was standard Bobby commenting. It didn't mean anything. "Ah just meant 'cause Ah cain't relate 'bout that. Ah've only ever had people die, never been th' one who dies mahself."

Bobby: "I dunno, babe... I wasn't sure you were still in there at all when Doc Feelgood was in the driver's seat." His voice was quiet, and he reached for her hand again to draw her back to him. It was a bad idea, but he needed her.

Rogue: "Oh..." Rogue hadn't known that. She thought he knew she was always there, just...inaccessible. Rogue let him take her hand and she leaned against him again, slowly. "Ah'd never leave you, Bobby. Ah fought him th' whole time..." She frowned, suddenly, realizing something, and sat up to look at him. "Is that why y' tried t' kill me? Or was that just an accident?"

Bobby: "I hoped, but I wasn't sure..." This time, Bobby put his arm around her to pull her in closer. "I was trying to knock you out." Bobby closed his eyes, reliving the day they'd captured her, with Essex controlling her body. Darren had called him in as backup. "Me and Sue... she ran away, because she thought she'd killed you. Me and Dare did CPR."

Rogue: "So... Did Ah die then?" Her frown deepened and she snuggled in close to him, head back on his shoulder. "Maybe Ah can join y' club then." Rogue tipped her head back to look up at him. "Ah'm glad y' know ev'rythin' 'bout me an' still love me." She winced, "care 'bout me Ah mean."

Bobby: "Your heart stopped. Darren shocked you." He had taken over mouth to mouth. "For just a few moments, when you woke up, you were you again..." Bobby still had his eyes closed and swallowed heavily. She'd gone to him first, of course, confused and frightened. "No, you were right the first time. I know you, and I love you."

Rogue: "Ah'm sorry Ah put y' through that." Rogue chewed her lip and closed her eyes. "Ah know y' do... An' Ah know you, Bobby an' Ah love you, too. Does that make it worse? Sayin' it out loud?"

Bobby: "I dunno, babe." He laughed a little, turning his head just enough to look at her from the corner of his eye. "We're already going to hell, right?"

Rogue: She opened her eyes again at that, "Well, if we're already goin'..." Rogue knew it was likely the alcohol starting to take effect, but she didn't care. Bobby was the only one who saw her and loved her regardless. Even Sam had hangups with some of her darkness. "Even if Ah c'n never have y', Bugsy, Ah want y' t' know how much Ah do love y'. Y've been mah best friend f'r longer'n anybody's ever hung 'round me."

Bobby: He smiled, turning a bit more to see her. They were so close, and this was so bad. "Likewise, Dollface." Bobby started to raise his hand to her hair, then stopped himself. "My partner in crime."

Rogue: Rogue saw his hand move and reached to hold it, using it not only as an anchor to remind her what she shouldn't do, but also because she felt if she didn't touch him, she would lose herself in her own mind. "Do y' think y'll be happy if Paige goes back t' normal?"

Bobby: He closed his eyes, debating telling her he couldn't answer that, but he was a little drunk. He was also tired of hiding his feelings. "I dunno, Anna."

Rogue: "Don't say that," she pouted up at him. "Ah want y' t' be happy, baby." Her eyes got a little wide. "Bobby," she corrected.

Bobby: He snorted, deciding not to take it to heart. "Nah, was a baby last week. Didn't like it."

Rogue: That made her smile and she ran her thumb over his. "Ah liked that Ah didn't hafta worry 'bout hidin' that Ah have feelin's."

Bobby: Bobby hummed, squeezing her hand. "I liked having somebody wipe my ass for me."

Rogue: Rogue laughed and closed her eyes, forcing herself to look away from his face. If she kept staring, she would keep speaking her mind when she really shouldn't. "Ah liked not havin' t' count."

Bobby: "Aww, counting is fun. Just ask Count Von Count." He studied her face, forcing himself to look away before he leaned any closer.

Rogue: "Ah made you count f' me 'cause it ain't fun f'r me." She opened her eyes to smile at him, drifting to his mouth when she noticed his eyes weren't on her. "Y' helped keep Tony honest with how much his swearin' earned us."

Bobby: That was a detail he'd forgotten until she brought it up. "Ha! Yeaaaah, haven't seen a dime of that. Bastard."

Rogue: "That's fifty dollars t' th' jar, Bugs." Rogue grinned, glad he was laughing about it. "Promise me that no matter what happens, y'll find a way t' be happy."

Bobby: He laughed, then sobered at her words. "I mean, I hope so..."

Rogue: She took her hand from his and turned his face gently so he would look at her. "After everythin' we've both been through, if one o' us cain't find a way t' be happy, then there's somethin' seriously wrong with th' world."

Bobby: "Are you?" It was out before he could stop it and he winced, looking away as his jaw tensed. "Fuck. Forget I said that. It was stupid."

Rogue: Rogue frowned and looked down, curling into him. "Sometimes," she allowed. "But not as happy as Ah could be..." After another moment, she took his hand again. "Why was it stupid?"

Bobby: "Because," he nearly snapped, but shook his head at himself. "Because," he started, more quietly. "You've got Tony Stark and I've got Paige Guthrie, yet here we are."

Rogue: "It's never stupid t' ask y' best friend if they're happy, Bobby." Rogue slid her hand from his, but didn't move from the comfort of his side. "Y' know why Ah have Tony Stark, Bugs? Ah have Tony Stark b'cause Ah let Essex walk away. An' you? You have Paige 'cause Ah let Essex take over mah body. It all goes back t' that... Somehow'r another. If Ah'm unhappy, it's mah own doin'."

Bobby: "Shouldn't we just blame it on Doc Feelgood?" He shrugged one shoulder. "Why fix it if it ain't broke."

Rogue: "'Cause Ah shouldn'ta been as stupid as Ah was. That's why we shouldn't." She leaned against him for a few moments then reached for the bottle, sitting up enough to take a healthy swig before curling back into him. "Run away with me." Rogue wrinkled her nose, knowing saying that was almost as stupid as letting Essex take over, so she set the scotch back down. "F'rget Ah said that."

Bobby: He let out a long sigh. "I would if I could." He shook his head. "And whaddya think that says about me?"

Rogue: "That y're a good man who values his promises an' also doesn't want his best friend t' go anywhere he cain't keep up with her." She gave him a sad smile. "That's what it hasta mean 'cause if it meant anythin' else, we'd be gone already."

Bobby: "That's one way of looking at it," he said with a soft chuckle. Bobby licked his lips, just studying her face again. This time, he didn't stop himself from reaching up and tracing her white stripe, hooking it around his index finger.

Rogue: Rogue always loved it when he did that. Made her feel special instead of just different. "It's th' way Ah choose t' see it. But how d' you see it?"

Bobby: "I don't know, babe... like Madrox said, it's a hell of a position to even get into..." He was still playing with her hair a little though.

Rogue: "But... We're in it. So, since we are...?" Rogue bit her lip and stayed as still as she could manage, yet she still couldn't help herself from leaning into his hand, eyes still on his face. "Ignorin' things ain't workin' too well, huh?"

Bobby: "No. Not that we're doing a great job of ignoring each other..." Since their mouths were about six inches apart and his thumb was now stroking her cheekbone.

Rogue: Her heart was racing and she closed her eyes to relish the feel of his skin on hers. She swallowed and tried to focus on slowing down her breathing. "C'n we pretend... Just f'r a minute'r two... That nobody else matters but us?" Rogue opened her eyes to look at him, unconsciously letting them linger on his lips before they got to their destination of his eyes. "Ah wanna be selfish with y', Bobby."

Bobby: He wanted it. Bobby wanted to kiss her, feel her sigh into his mouth again and press her body against his. He closed his eyes and swallowed. When his eyes opened, they fell on his skin touching hers. Was this her? Did she want to kiss him, or was his desire for her bleeding through via her powers. "Anna..."

Rogue: Rogue felt the electricity between them, but waited, wanting him to close the distance first. She didn't want to force anything on him, ever. He was so close to her. She willed him to take that step, let them melt into each other. "Bobby?" Rogue wasn't sure why he had stopped, but she knew that tone in his voice, knew that he wasn't going to do what she wanted him to do. But she refused to move away from him. "What is it?"

Bobby: "Babe... am I... um, in your head, right now?" His hand was shaking now as Jamie's theory replayed in his head. It was all his emotions, reflected onto her.

Rogue: "Y're always in mah head... We've touched so many times it's like y' got a room all t' y'self inside it. Y' wantin' me t' turn on y' psyche? That's a new form o' masturbation, Bugs." Rogue smirked at him and reached up to cover his shaky hand with her steady one.

Bobby: He licked his lips. "I, uh..." Bobby took her hand and moved back a little to give himself some distance.

Rogue: Her smirk died and she chewed her lip. "Did Ah do somethin' wrong?" Maybe she wasn't meant to have her happiness after all. She looked down at their hands and let go of his. "Ah'll just... Ah'll go."

Bobby: "No, babe." He grabbed her hand back. "I'm just -" Bobby frowned, thinking this over, because she was gonna be hurt and insulted no matter how he said this. "I don't want to fight about this, so please, just think, and consider if it's a possibility... okay?"

Rogue: Rogue didn't like where this was going. At all. But she took a breath and settled back down, watching his face. "Okay?"

Bobby: "Is... it possible that, um, my psyche is influencing your feelings?" Or, hell, even Lorna's psyche. He braced himself for her reaction.

Rogue: She stared at him for a few long, quiet moments, then closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Rogue had promised she would consider the possibility and she didn't want to fight with him right now either, but it hurt that he would doubt her like that. "Lemme paint a picture f'r ya..." She opened her eyes again, making sure she met his soft blue ones with her deep green, not letting them linger anywhere else.

Rogue: "Imagine y' psyche is a tiny version o' you. Not too unlike Jamie's dupes. Every time Ah touch somebody, Ah get this tiny version o' them in mah head. In mah own psychic plane. Normally, Ah c'n determine who's b'hind th' wheel, so t' speak, of mah head an' mah body. Ah've got walls an' Ah've got doors, kinda like a hotel'r somethin'. Sometimes, though, if Ah ain't used t' th' psyche or it's one that fights me or is stronger'n me, it takes over."

Rogue: Rogue chewed her lip, hoping he was getting her analogy. She'd never explained it like this before and wasn't sure if it made sense or not. "Ah've had y'r psyche in mah head so many times that it's like y' come in, wrap me in y' arms f'r a warm embrace, then keep goin' past an' go b'hind th' door y've always used. Y' don't get walled up like Essex. Y' have a door 'cause nothin' in you would ever hurt anythin' in me. But y' still go b'hind it an' stay there 'til y' fade."

Bobby: Bobby listened to this patiently, thanking his lucky fucking stars she hadn't just freaked out and flown off. She hadn't even yelled. Yet. It was also fairly fascinating to listen to her describe how she filed all the voices in her head. "Okay..." Bobby licked his lips. "So no... I just - i-it came up, when I was talking to Jamie, a-and it sounded so much more plausible than you actually having f-feelings for me that... well..."

Rogue: "Y' doubted how Ah felt 'cause y' doubted y' own feelin's? Or maybe y' wanted me t' not have feelin's so y' had an easy excuse? A way out?" Rogue shook her head and then looked down at their hands again. "Ah c'n give y' one if y' want it. Ah c'n even go find somebody who finds y' repulsive an' let their emotions cloud mine if that's what y' want. Ah just wish y'd trust me. Th' way Ah've always trusted you."

Bobby: "It's not you I don't trust!" he barked, then made a face at himself. "Sorry." He looked away from her, grinding his teeth as he tried to get himself under control and sort his feelings - and his words.

Rogue: "...Y' don't trust y'self, then." She turned away from him, putting her back to the chimney again and reaching for the scotch. "'Cause there's only two of us here, Bobby. So it's gotta be me'r you."

Bobby: "Exactly. It's me." He slid his ass a bit away from her to give them some space.

Rogue: Rogue tipped the bottle up and drank for a long time. Once she pulled it away she set it between them without looking. "What is it y' don't trust exactly? Y' think y' feelin's f'r me ain't real?"

Bobby: "No!" He shook his head and made a frustrated noise, stretching out his legs to study his boots. "No," he started, more quietly. "Not that... I just... what the fuck kind of man am I? I've got Paige, and I love her, but I love you, too. I loved you when I loved Lorna, too. It's fucking weird, and wrong."

Rogue: That startled her and she looked over at him. "Y'... What? Lorna? How long have y' felt this way an' not told me, Bobby? Not told anybody f'r that matter?"

Bobby: "A long, long time, Anna." He sighed, still staring at his boots.

Rogue: Once that sank in, Rogue turned and straddled his lap, took his face in her hands, and without letting herself have time to think, she kissed him soundly.

Bobby: Startled, his hands fell to her upper arms, then her hips. It was wrong, and he shouldn't be doing this, but why did it feel so right then? Bobby groaned into the kiss, pulling her down onto him.

Rogue: Her heart was racing as she melted against him, sliding her arms around his neck, pressing every bit of her against him that she could reach. He knew her better than anyone, every bit of her darkness and her light, and he still felt the way he did. Felt for longer than she even knew possible. Rogue craved to be loved in spite of her horrible curse and her evil nature. And he did.

Rogue: If this was all she could have from him - this moment, right now - she would take it and relish it for the rest of her days. But she needed to have it first.

Bobby: His hands were exploring the curve of her hips, her ass, her thighs, and fucking hell she felt fantastic. "Anna," he breathed, breaking the kiss to lower his head and mouth her neck. Bobby was operating on instinct now, fingers spread over her tailbone to press her against him.

Rogue: Rogue gasped and arched her back, feeling every bit of him as she could. His mouth on her neck sent goosebumps over her skin and she bit her lip to try and keep quiet. They fit together without even trying and she wanted more. Her fingers gripped the back of his shirt and she gave it a tiny tug - she wanted to feel his skin. Needed to feel his skin.

Bobby: Bobby sat up, letting her have her way with his shirt, since he was too busy sucking at her pulse point to really notice. He wondered if she was accessing his psyche right now, or how it all worked. She was such a mystery, yet an open book.

Rogue: As soon as his shirt was gone, her hands were exploring his torso, smoothing her palms over his back and down his sides. Anywhere she could reach and still stay pressed against him. Rogue rolled her hips and let out a soft moan. Things didn't have to be complicated, just pure. Things were so easy like this and she never wanted it to end. "Bobby," her voice was breathy and full of need.

Bobby: "Fuck," he moaned, gripping her hips to guide her and raising his head to kiss her again. It felt wonderful, having her in his arms. He didn't have to guess what was going on in her head, or if she thought he was just a burden now.

Rogue: Rogue whimpered into his mouth and her hands slid up his chest to his neck, thumbs stroking his jaw. She wanted to explore him and have him explore her. There was so much to learn about each other and Rogue wanted to start now. She leaned back a bit, gently pulling him with her so she wouldn't break the kiss. Rogue knew the shingles on the roof wouldn't cut her skin, but they would his and she didn't want to risk him getting hurt.

Bobby: He cupped her ass in his hands and sat up, nipping at her lower lip. Everywhere her hands touched him he felt like his skin was on fire, and he knew it had nothing to do with their powers. It was important for her, he knew that much. She could touch him without hurting him, and they'd never know why it worked that way.

Rogue: She was reluctant to let go, but she needed her shirt off so she could feel more. Rogue kept kissing him, not willing to let go of that, and ripped her shirt open, throwing the tattered remnants near Bobby's discarded one. Her hands were on him again the second they were empty, pulling him forward while she floated them back until she was lying on the roof under him.

Bobby: Shocked, he laughed, finding their positions reversed. Flying women, man. Bobby looked down at her and reached to push her hair out of her face, his other sliding down her side. Such soft skin, but so deadly... except for him. He bared teeth for a split second at the thought, then gripped her jaw and drew her up to kiss her hungrily.

Rogue: Rogue smiled up at him until their lips met again and she groaned. She wrapped her legs around his hips and pressed them together, not wanting any space between them. Her fingers tangled in his hair as she deepened the already intense kiss. Touching him was a drug that she didn't know if she would ever be able to quit. All of her powers worked and she could still touch him with every inch of her skin. It was intoxicating.

Bobby: Fucking hell she felt fantastic. Bobby growled, grinding into her and tasting scotch and Anna and danger. He wanted to explore that dangerous skin, but in the back of his mind, a part of his brain not soaked in alcohol and lust was nudging him in alarm.

Rogue: She gasped into his mouth at his growl and arched into him, loving this side of him. This was all so new and yet familiar. Her nails traced gentle lines next to his spine, hoping to give him the goosebumps back that he gave to her. Rogue crossed her ankles enough to toe off her shoes, letting them bump down the roof until they fell to the lawn below.

Bobby: The sound drew his attention and he raised his head from her collarbone. What? Bobby was panting, and he opened his eyes to look down at Anna. Fuck. He swallowed and shook his head sharply.

Rogue: Rogue's eyes slowly opened to look at him. She smiled at him until she saw the look on his face. He wasn't happy anymore. "Bobby?" Her hands flattened against his back, trying to gently push him back down to her while she arched up to meet him. She wanted skin.

Bobby: "Babe..." He had to clear his throat to try again, licking his lips. Fuck, he was a terrible person. A terrible husband. A terrible father. Still, he wanted this. "I-I... can't, Anna..." Bobby started to pull himself away.

Rogue: Oh... Rogue gave him a tight smile, "Ah understand, sugah." Still, she wanted one more. A goodbye kiss, maybe. She pushed up to her elbows and pressed their lips together, tender and loving. "We'll always have th' roof, Bugs."

Bobby: Bobby closed his eyes and grabbed the back of her neck, deepening the kiss for just a moment, then pulling back to lick his lips again. "I'm sorry." His voice was still rough, and he needed to get away from her, but he felt like he couldn't move.

Rogue: "No, don't be sorry. This was more'n Ah ever thought Ah'd have with you." Rogue reached up to run the tips of her fingers over his cheekbone. "Ah'm sorry, though. Ah shouldn'ta kissed y' in th' first place. Ah never wanted t' make y' feel how y' do right now." Her eyes fell to his lips, then she met his baby blues again, "Ah do love you, Bobby. Remember that."

Bobby: "I love you, Anna." Even though it was wrong, it felt more right than most things had for months. Bobby gave her a faint smile, brushing his thumb over her jaw. She was so tempting, and warm. Thankfully, he had a solution for that. Moving his body away from hers, he shifted to ice, then to vapor, to dissipate into the sky.

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